VANCOUVER — Local politicians in Kamloops, B.C., voted on Monday to oppose a controversial copper-gold mine that would operate just outside of the city limits.
The city doesn’t have the authority to stop the Ajax mine, owned by Poland-based KGHM, but hopes federal and provincial governments will take Kamloops’s position into account, the city’s acting mayor, Arjun Singh, said. “We’d like, certainly, to be heard in what we are saying,” Mr. Singh said.
“We realize we are not the final decision makers – but I think the work that we have all done to assess [the project] leads at least the majority of us to think it’s not a good idea for the community.” The proposed mine, which is also opposed by First Nations in the region, has been a divisive issue for the city.
Supporters cited its potential to create hundreds of stable, high-paying jobs and millions of dollars worth of tax revenue for governments. Opponents raised concerns about dust, noise and potential health effects. The mine’s proponent, KGHM Ajax Mining Inc., rejigged its original proposal in 2014 to address some of those issues.
But concerns remained, with critics saying potential risks from the project – which would be within two kilometres of residential areas – were still too great. On Monday, council voted 4-2 to draft a letter to senior levels of government saying it is not in favour of the mine and to include reasons for that opposition. “The message from council to regulators is that we are a solid no – an unequivocal no – and here are the reasons why,” Mr. Singh said Monday.